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5 Important, Relevant Mental Health Organizations for Bartenders

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(illustration: Suzanne Dias)

People like to confuse bartenders with therapists, but the truth is that the person mixing your drink is dealing with just as much, if not more, stress as you. Working on your feet all day around booze and the people consuming it calls for a special kind of self-care. These are five mental health resources you can turn to when you need your own proverbial shoulder to lean on.

1. Healthy Hospo (Global)

Healthy Hospo is an organization backed by service industry veterans that aims to provide mental health support, advice and information to individuals and businesses within the global hospitality community through various partnerships and initiatives. The organization, a 2018 Tales of the Cocktail educational grant recipient, came to life after founder Tim Etherington-Judge experienced a breakdown in November 2016. Now supported by industry vets like Kristine Bocchino of Los Angeles (who oversees the U.S. market) and Camille Ralph-Vidal, Healthy Hospo provides a variety of mental health services to industry professionals such as seminars, boot camps, classes and events. 

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2. Hope for the Day (Chicago)

Hope for the Day aims to proactively prevent suicide through outreach and education. The organization’s newest venture, Support Staff, is run by industry professionals who work directly to help bridge the gap between the bar community and the world of mental health. The endeavor was created as a means of breaking the silence by addressing all the challenges industry professionals face. 

3. Me, Myself in Mind (London)

London chef Merly Kammerling is a certified therapist and mindfulness expert who founded Me, Myself in Mind in 2018. It provides a variety of classes focusing on topics like stress management, mental health awareness and self-care. The goal is to identify stress as a primary issue within hospitality and provide education around how to minimize it in our everyday lives. “Research says that one in four will suffer with mental health issues at some point in our lives, and I strongly believe that the ratio is higher within hospitality,” she says. 

4. Mind the Bar (Canada)

Canadian bartender organization Mind the Bar caters to industry professionals experiencing “thoughts of suicide, depression, anxiety and workplace harassment” and its aftermath. Founded by restaurateur and former bartender Shoel Davidson, the organization functions as a mental health network for the local hospitality community (not just bartenders), offering support for those dealing with addiction, anxiety, depression, harassment and all of the mental health struggles that come accompany these issues. 

5. Restaurant Recovery (Washington, D.C.)

Based in Washington, D.C., Restaurant Recovery is a safe and judgment-free space for the local hospitality community to turn to for conversations around recovery of all kinds. This organization, founded by Shaaren Pine and backed by industry legends like Jack McGarry of New York City’s BlackTail and The Dead Rabbit, specifically addresses the vast lack of health insurance among industry professionals (as well as the still-staggering bills that those with coverage are sometimes faced with) and provides donation-funded support accordingly. 

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